USS Milius returned to San Diego from deployment Thursday, June 18.
USS Milius returns from deployment
From Commander, U.S. Third Fleet Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69) returned June 25 from a 250-day independent deployment to the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans.
While deployed to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleets, the ship and crew of more than 300 Sailors, assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21, conducted presence operations and goodwill activities with partner nations.
During the deployment, Milius transited nearly 71,000 nautical miles, conducted numerous visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) missions and participated in four international maritime security exercises.
"I am extremely proud of this ship and this crew," said Cmdr. Michael J. Rak, commanding officer of Milius. "These destroyermen performed exceptionally well in theater, and their superior performance during this eight-and-a-half month deployment is a testament to them and the families who support us."
The Navy announced in October 2014 that the ballistic missile defense (BMD)-capable guided-missile destroyers USS Benfold (DDG 65) and USS Milius (DDG 69) will become part of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) based at Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, in the summers of 2015 and 2017, respectively.
Milius is a multi-mission ship with anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare surface combatants capabilities; designed to operate independently or with an associated strike group.
The ship is homeported in San Diego and is part of Naval Surface Forces and U.S. 3rd Fleet.
U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the international date line and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.
Marine Corps news
Mud run is slippery slope at Camp Pendleton
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif – Marines and Sailors competed in the 2015 Commanding General’s Cup Mud Run here, June 12. More than 1.800 Marines and Sailors in groups of five waded through muddy pits, trudged up slippery slopes and swam through thick mud during the race to the finish line. Official Marine Corps photo by Gunnery Sgt. Leo A. Salinas
Official Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Asia J. Sorenson
Military pay tables for 2015
Housing recovery funds available
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San Diego Navy news
MAKASSAR STRAIT (June 10, 2015) Distressed persons wait to be rescued by Sailors and Marines aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47) in the Pacific Ocean. Rushmore rescued 65 people after it was discovered they were floating on bamboo rafts tied together and with no means of propulsion. Once on board, the rescued individuals were provided food and medical attention by Marines and Sailors from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and the Essex Amphibious Ready Group. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Emmanuel Ramos
USS Rushmore aids 65 people at sea near Indonesia
From Essex Amphibious Ready Group Public Affairs
Makassar Strait (NNS) -- USS Rushmore (LSD 47) rendered assistance to 65 people on makeshift bamboo rafts in the waters between the Indonesian islands of Kalimantan and Sulawesi June 10.
Shipboard lookouts spotted the distressed persons waving orange and white flags. Rushmore's commanding officer, Cmdr. Thomas Stephens, ordered the launch of a small boat with two search and rescue swimmers to provide assistance. Rushmore Sailors discovered 65 people on sinking bamboo rafts tied together with no means of propulsion, food or water.
Sailors and Marines brought all 65 people on board the Rushmore for medical attention and will coordinate with local officials for their well-being.
"This is an example of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group's professional maritime skill and ability to be where it matters, when it matters to offer assistance," said Capt. Clint Carroll, Commander, Essex Amphibious Ready Group.
Rushmore was transiting the Makassar Strait after having just completed a port visit to Manado, Indonesia. As part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), Rushmore is in the Western Pacific en route to the Arabian Gulf for a routine deployment. Deployed with a Marine Expeditionary Unit, the ARG serves as a sea-based crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious missions across the full range of military operations.
Port Hueneme Navy news
NAVFAC chemist receives Navy's top scientist award
by Don Rochon, NAVFAC Headquarters Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Daniel Zarate, a chemist with Naval Facilities Engineering Command's (NAVFAC) Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (EXWC) in Port Hueneme, California, was honored at the Pentagon by the assistant secretary of the Navy (ASN) for research, development and acquisition as one of the Navy's top scientists, June 12.
Zarate successfully developed, validated and transitioned the next generation of Polysulfide Modified Novolac Epoxy (PMNE) coating for use in petroleum, oil, and lubricants (POL) fuels tanks. The new coating successfully resolved environmental and operational risks associated with leaks caused by corrosion, including the elimination of volatile organic compounds in the coating.
"This innovation will save the government millions of dollars in tank maintenance, repair, and replacement costs," said EXWC Commanding Officer Capt. Mark Edelson. "The new coating increases operational availability and reduces the risk of fuel leaking into the environment."
Zarate was among 11 extraordinary scientists and engineers who were recognized at this year's ASN (RDA) Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers Award ceremony.
In addition to saving maintenance costs for the Navy, the new coating will reduce the operational down time for large POL fuel tanks. Corrosion is a perennial problem in maintaining facilities infrastructure, especially those with steel components. Massive POL fuel tanks present a difficult challenge due to their sheer volume. Industrial coatings have been used to mitigate corrosion problems, but current systems have a high volatile organic compounds (VOC) content, which impacts local ozone levels and contributes to greenhouse gas effects.
Zarate's new PMNE coating solves this problem. The new coating significantly improves performance while reducing lifecycle cost by up to 50%.
Now living in Oxnard, California, Zarate originally hails from Visalia, California.
San Diego Navy news
SAN DIEGO (June 11, 2015) Cmdr. Walter Mainor , right, takes command of the guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110) from Cmdr. Chanden Langhofer, left, during a change of command ceremony at Naval Base San Diego. William P. Lawrence is conducting integrated training with the aircraft carrier USS John C Stennis (CVN 74) and Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 3 in preparation for a future deployment. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Zachary Bell
USS William P Lawrence Holds Change of Command in San Diego
From USS William P. Lawrence Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The crew of the guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110) held a change-of-command ceremony on board Naval Base San Diego, June 11.
During the ceremony, Cmdr. Walter Mainor relieved Cmdr. Chanden Langhofer as commanding officer.
"The opportunity to command at sea has been the highlight of my career," said Langhofer. "I'm truly honored and privileged to have served so closely with the best Sailors in the Navy."
Langhofer assumed command of William P. Lawrence Dec. 17, 2013, and led the ship through an extensive but highly successful basic phase of training and material inspection.
"I'm really proud of all we've accomplished," said Laughofer. "Although I'm sad to be leaving the ship, I know that the command is ready to do even greater things under the leadership of Cmdr. Mainor."
Mainor reported to William P. Lawrence in October 2013, and previously served as executive officer as part of the fleet-up program. The program features an 18-month executive officer tour followed by a commanding officer tour aboard the same ship. Cmdr. Mainor has also served as commanding officer of the mine countermeasures ship USS Patriot (MCM 7).
Mainor said the fleet-up program has allowed him to become familiar with the crew and the ship before assuming command of William P. Lawrence.
"I'm excited and humbled to take command of a ship named after such an incredible man and naval officer" said Mainor. "The crew is truly remarkable. It's amazing to watch the Sailors of William P. Lawrence come together and accomplish every task. I look forward to all of our future operations in preparation for deployment."
Cmdr. Andrew Burkett recently assumed the duties as the ship's executive officer.
William P. Lawrence is conducting integrated training with the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and Carrier Strike Group 3 in preparation for a future deployment.
USS Chancellorsville brings newest technology to US 7th Fleet
by Ensign Bryan Sumpter, USS Chancellorsville Public Affairs
WESTERN PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and its crew of 350 Sailors entered the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), June 11.
Chancellorsville, the first Aegis cruiser to be outfitted with Aegis Baseline 9, will enhance presence in the U.S. 7th Fleet AOR by conducting theater security cooperation engagements and maritime security operations while maintaining stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
"Chancellorsville's fundamental mission is to conduct prompt and sustained combat operations at sea," said Capt. Curt Renshaw, Chancellorsville's commanding officer. "The ship provides an agile, flexible, responsive and robust set of capabilities to the 7th Fleet AOR."
Chancellorsville will join U.S. 7th Fleet's Forward Deployed Naval Forces and will bring a host of new technological advancements and warfighting capabilities to the region.
"We have spent over one year preparing for our addition to U.S. 7th Fleet's Forward Deployed Naval Forces Japan, and we are ready for whatever tasking comes our way," said Renshaw. "That readiness is a reflection not only of the tremendous capabilities inherent in Aegis Baseline 9, but is also a testament to the hard work and positive attitude of the crew."
Chancellorsville, having recently completed a detailed modernization and testing program, has the Navy's most advanced air and missile defense system. It will be the first forward-deployed ship to have the latest version (called Baseline 9) of the Aegis Weapon System, a computer-based system for defending a carrier strike group against air and missile attacks.
The Baseline 9 upgrades installed on board include an overall Aegis Weapon System upgrade coupled with an improved cooperative engagement capability, a more robust surface to air missile capability, the AN/SPQ-9B integrated for anti-missile defense, AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 sonar system upgrades, and a gun weapon system upgrade that includes installation of two 5''/62 caliber gun mounts, the Electro-Optical Sighting System and the MK 160 Fire Control System.
Chancellorsville is a multi-mission air warfare, undersea warfare, naval surface fire support and surface warfare combatant ship capable of supporting carrier strike groups, amphibious forces, or of operating independently and as flagships of surface action groups.
Pacific Partnership 2015 news
SUVA, Fiji (June 7, 2015) The Fiji Police Band welcomes the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) with a musical performance during Pacific Partnership 2015. Fiji is Mercy's first mission port of during Pacific Partnership 2015. Pacific Partnership is in its tenth iteration and is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Peter Reft
USNS Mercy arrives in Fiji for Pacific Partnership 2015
by MC3 Mayra Conde, Pacific Partnership Public Affairs
SUVA, Fiji (NNS) -- The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) arrived in Suva, Fiji, June 7 for its first mission port visit of Pacific Partnership (PP15) 2015.
This is the first visit to Fiji by a U.S. Navy vessel in nine years.
Pacific Partnership is a joint effort between the United States and foreign militaries, non-governmental organizations and partner-nation support organizations to conduct civil-military operations including humanitarian and civic assistance, as well as veterinary, medical, dental and civil engineering support.
"We're excited to work alongside our Fijian partners to improve our collective ability to respond to natural disasters," said Capt. Chris Engdahl, PP15 mission commander. "We look forward to learning as much as we can from our friends in this part of the Pacific theater."
During mission events, multinational military and civilian personnel will work together to conduct surgical screenings, dental screenings, health fairs for medical education, as well as conduct basic life support courses.
Additionally, Fiji and Mercy will host several subject matter expert exchanges and classes on a wide range of topics including mass casualty procedures, public health, infectious disease and basic life support.
Personnel aboard Mercy will also have the opportunity to volunteer for community outreach events which will include activities such as face painting, rugby, and coloring for families and children.
"Mercy and our embarked partners nations and NGO personnel have spent months planning this mission. We're thrilled to put all of that hard work into motion as we collectively work with the Fijian people to improve this region's disaster preparedness," said Engdahl.
Civil engineering projects include the construction of two schools created from the ground up. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11; Amphibious Construction Battalion 1; U.S. Air Force Red Horse Engineers; Japan Self-Defense Force engineers and Republic of Fiji Military Force engineers will work together on the construction of these projects.
Mercy is also scheduled to visit Papua New Guinea, Philippines, and Vietnam for this year's mission.
Additionally, the secondary mission platform for PP15 is the Military Sealift Command joint high speed vessel USNS Millinocket (JHSV 3), led by an expeditionary command element from the Navy's 30th Naval Construction Regiment from Port Hueneme, California.
Pacific Partnership is in its tenth iteration and is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. While training for crisis conditions, Pacific Partnership missions to date have provided medical care to approximately 270,000 patients and veterinary services to more than 38,000 animals. Additionally, the mission has provided critical infrastructure development to host nations through the completion of more than 180 engineering projects.
Pacific Partnership 2015 supporting partners include Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Canada, Timor Leste, Fiji, and France. Non-governmental organizations also participating are Project Hope, Operation Smile, Latter Day Saints Charities, University of California San Diego, University of Virginia, University of Hawaii, Project Handclasp, and World Vets.
Mercy is a converted San Clemente-class supertanker with a length of 894 feet. In its deployed state, the hospital ship carries up to 1,215 medical personnel and provides full hospital capabilities and services, including surgery, radiology, optometry, dermatology, physical therapy, dialysis, a pharmacy, blood bank, and dental. The Mercy's primary mission is to provide rapid, flexible and mobile acute medical and surgical services to support Marine Corps, Army and Air Force units deployed ashore, and naval amphibious task forces and battle forces afloat.
San Diego military news
KUSI's Allie Wagner chatting with some of Naval Medical Center San Diego's awesome nurses at the recent NICU reunion
US Navy Medical Center San Diego hosts 32nd Annual NICU reunion
by MC1 Marie A. Montez, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- More than 750 Navy and Marine Corps families reunited with hospital staff of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) and the Armed Services Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA).
"This is a fantastic event, a celebration bringing all the neonatal care staff and families together to rekindle friendships made while staying in neonatal care," said Capt. Jose A. Acosta, commanding officer, NMCSD.
Each day a child's life in the NICU holds many challenges. Many families have to leave their newborn in the care of the NICU while returning to work or while they care for other family members at home. Camaraderie and friendships grow each day learning how to cope with all that is entailed in keeping these young children healthy.
Jamie Cole gave birth to twins Exavier and Journey Cole in March, each weighing just over one pound. She's been living at the Fisher House, a nonprofit that provides a safe, close place to stay for military families.
"The Fisher House also allows us to talk to other parents going through the same thing," said Cole. "We are blessed the military funds our stay, meals, and laundry so we can spend more time with our babies."
Alongside Fisher House, the YMCA is ready to help families. Events like the annual NICU reunion bring characters such as Storm Troopers, Disney princesses, Sea World's "Otter," Hula dancers and more, but are used to remind families and staff how much they need each other along the road to recovery.
"This event gives all current babies and 'graduates' along with their families an opportunity to share their journey and individual milestones with their doctors and nurses that have cared for them," said Natasha Castro, program manager for the San Diego YMCA.
"Seeing the children's progress and how much they've blossomed since coming out of the NICU is amazing," she said.
Visit Balboa Hospital on Facebook.com/NMCSD, on Twitter.com/NMC_SD and on Instagram at Instagram/NMC_SD.
National Navy news
PEARL HARBOR (May 27, 2015) Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., left, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) Ashton Carter, Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, and Adm. Scott H. Swift, render honors during the joint U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) and U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) change of command ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. During the dual ceremony, Swift relieved Harris as the PACFLT commander and Harris assumed command of USPACOM from Locklear. U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Jay M. Chu
Adm. Swift takes command of Pacific Fleet
by MC2 Tamara Vaughn, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs
PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Adm. Scott H. Swift returned to his home state and relieved Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr. as commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet during a change of command ceremony on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, May 27.
"The magnitude of this moment is not lost on me, especially given my personal and professional history here in Hawaii and the Pacific," said Swift, who became the 35th commander since the Pacific Fleet moved to Hawaii in 1941. "No one is selected for responsibility such as that of the Pacific Fleet based on personal merit or performance alone. It is a reflection of the collective success of many, not one individual, and I am no exception."
Swift also spoke of his fond connection to Hawaii, where he was born when his father was stationed at Pearl Harbor.
After reading orders and assuming command, Swift also thanked the men and women of the Pacific Fleet, emphasizing the fact that his success was not accomplished alone.
"While my life foundation is my parents, I stand on the shoulders of many," said Swift.